Casino (Movie Review)


Casinos are exciting places with an energy that’s hard to replicate. They’re usually filled with lights, music, champagne glasses clinking around tables and a sense of adventure that makes people feel like they’re stepping into an alternate reality. It’s the kind of place where you can get a rush just by sitting at a slot machine or playing poker. The fact that you never know when your luck will change just adds to the excitement.

In many ways, Casino is a spiritual sequel to Scorsese’s Goodfellas. The film lays bare the mafia’s intricate web of control over Vegas, with tendrils stretching to politicians, Teamsters unions and even the Midwest mob based out of Kansas City. De Niro is perfect as the stoic, old-school mobster Ace Rothstein while Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone give outstanding performances.

In the end, it’s the violence that really packs a punch in this movie. Scenes involving the torture of a man with a vice, the murder of Rothstein by a team of men, and the suicide of Stone’s character are shocking but all too real. Scorsese doesn’t use violence purely for shock value or style, however; he faithfully portrays what happens in the mafia’s shadowy underworld.